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ebizQ's Business Agility Watch

Elizabeth Book

Keith Harrison-Broninski on 'RedBoss'

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View from ebizQ Blogger Keith Harrison-Broninski on the Red Hat-JBoss acquisition:

Good news for everyone - if you want another Microsoft, that is. RedHat Linux is already going the way that the Windows operating system did 20 years ago, as its market dominance gradually makes the survival of similar offerings less and less likely. IBM in particular must have been wondering how they managed to let it happen all over again. Now, in the same way that Microsoft strengthened its operating system monopoly via office applications, RedHat is aiming to do so via middleware.

But who actually is threatened by this? After all, both Linux and the JBoss stack are good software (some of which - jBPM - I've been recommending in my blog). However, don't be misled by the ability to
download source code. There will soon be nothing to stop RedHat inflating "the price of their support", for which, if you are an enterprise user, read "the price of their software". And neither RedHat nor JBoss have been shy of adding their own custom features to supposedly standard platforms in the past, so vendor lock-in is inevitable - just look at what a vast and complex mashup JBoss is becoming these days.

In the short-term, a RedHat/JBoss merger may be just what the developer community wants to see. In the longer term, I'm not so sure it will be for the good of the IT industry.

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Read about this on the n-gaa mailing list.

I couldn't agree less about the RedHat == Microsoft thing.

I know an Australian Linux company that used to make lots of money selling official RedHat boxes when they came out. That market is now dead for them (and it was their bread and butter).

The company I work for, which got a write up (about linux usage) in ComputerWorld last week, is currently replacing RedHat on ALL our boxes, with Ubunutu. Ubunutu as desktop, server (Xen host, email, web, file, print, J2EE, etc), firewall. This was suggested to us by a pretty sucessful, different, Linux consultancy here in Sydney, which are converting all their clients to Ubunutu (often from RedHat). I'm very happy with Ubunutu.

It seems to me that RedHat is getting less and less relevant, and Ubuntu is soaring to popularity with amazing speed.


We also run JBoss, and have for many years. This I do have more concerns about. We are actually, mindfully choosing vendor lockin on this platform.

A couple of our developers (me and another) went to JBoss training when it was run in Sydney (about 3 years ago). As Marc Fluery said at the training, "fuck the spec, we are the spec" (in a typical Marc way). Seemed a very arrogant thing to be saying 3 years ago. Doesn't so much now (considering his employee, Gavin King was so pivotal in the EJB 3 spec).

Just yesterday, our dev. team was talking about adding custom interceptors to JBoss (laughing about Marc's arrogant comment), and intergrating some of our code with the transaction system. This is most certainly going to not be "spec compliant", but it's such a neat solution, that it's worth doing, and I can't realistically see us moving from JBoss any time soon. This is not to say that we are committing our selves, we could probably do what we are doing in any EJB container, it'd just be a minor rewrite, and require understanding the container.

Staying spec compliant comes at a cost. JBoss is an impressive platform, and very customisable. There is of course a lockin danger here, but if your careful, it's manageable, and nothing like the MS lockin, and never will be (say VB.net and MSSQL on Windows. Your screwed!)

ebizQ’s expert blog team covers a broad range of BPM, business integration, business analytics/monitoring, collaboration, content and related issues.

Peter Schooff

Peter Schooff is Contributing Editor at ebizQ, and manager of the ebizQ Forum. Contact him at pschooff@techtarget.com

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